Meet the Gods: Dagda
(This illustration of Dagda was found on Pinterest. His cauldron, known as the Undry or the Cauldron of Plenty, provided infinite food and drink but never to a coward or an oath breaker. It was also said to revive the dead. One end of his enormous club could kill while the other end could give life.)
The name of the Celtic god Dagda means “Good God.” He’s also known as Eochaid Ollathair, meaning “Eochaid the All-Father.” His name is typically proceeded by the article “the.”
In the Celtic tradition, the Dagda is one of the leaders of a mythological Irish people, the Tuatha Dé Danann, “People of the Goddess Danu.”
“These were a group of people, descended from Nemed, who had been exiled from Ireland, and scattered. It is thought that Danu offered them her patronage, under which they succeeded in rebanding, learning new and magical skills, and returning to Ireland in a magical mist,” according to Bard Mythologies.
Britannica.com states, “The Dagda was credited with many powers and possessed a cauldron that was never empty, fruit trees that were never barren, and two pigs – one live and the other perpetually roasting. He also had a huge club that had the power both to kill men and to restore them to life. With his harp, which played by itself, he summoned the seasons.”
Some sources have him married to the sinister war goddess Morrígan. At least one of his many children was borne by the goddess of the River Boyne.
“The Dagda is generally described as being a large man, sometimes comically so, with a tremendous appetite and immense capacity. It was said that to make his porridge he needed 80 gallons of milk as well as several whole sheep, pigs, and goats, and that he ate this meal with a ladle large enough to hold two people lying down,” Morgan Daimler wrote in “Pagan Portals – Gods & Goddess of Ireland,” citing “A Child’s Eye View of Irish Paganism,” by Blackbird O’Connell.
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Daimler notes the Dagda is often described as having red hair and wearing a short tunic. He is strong and able to accomplish “great feats such building a fort single-handedly.” Every power was his.
“He is called the Excellent God, the Lord of Perfect Knowledge and all Father. His central attribute is the Sacred Fire and, like it, he is always hungry, ready to consume the offerings; he is also a red god. The Dagda is also a phallic deity [fitting for Beltane], his lust matching his hunger. He is the father of many of the Tuatha De but his key function is as Druid of the Gods,” according to an article published on adf.org.
Druidic magic, abundance and great skill are among the attributes associated with the Dagda.
From my research, it seems he would appreciate offerings of large quantities of dark ale or beer, and oat bannocks, a porridge, particularly if butter and bacon are added. One source noted they should be offered to the fire.
A cauldron and a club or staff, Daimler suggested, could be his symbols in works of magic.
He is called on for wisdom, victory in law or judgement, and bounty. In a time of need, I can see putting out my cauldron, perhaps with a fire in it, and call the Dagda and his Cauldron of Plenty for help. Because his cauldron also serves as a tool of rebirth and regeneration, I would also call upon that power when going through a difficult ending on the way to a rebirth.
(“Dagda – Celtic All Father,” was handcrafted by James Miller from StonecraftArts. Sculpted in wax based clay and cast in architectural concrete, this plaque is available on Etsy.)
James Miller, a sculptor from Colorado, is of Celtic and Germanic descent.
“He is part of my cultural heritage, so I honor him as an archetype of the ideal masculine,” James said, adding, “His name actually means ‘the good one.’”
He finds people are more receptive to learning about gods, goddesses and ancient traditions when they are framed in a cultural rather than religious context.
Merry part. And merry meet again
About the Author:
Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.